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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Distorting the meaning of a statement by removing the context is old hat
Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz of the Washington Post distort the meaning of a context by removing the statement. They write and quote.

Clinton was similarly vague about how she would handle special interrogation methods used by the CIA. She said that while she does not condone torture, so much has been kept secret that she would not know unlesselected what other extreme measures interrogators are using, and therefore could not say whether she would change or continue existing policies.

"It is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn't doing. We're getting all kinds of mixed messages," Clinton said. "I don't think we'll know the truth until we have a new president. I think [until] you can get in there and actually bore into what's been going on, you're not going to know."

The Clinton campaign notes that they left out this bit of insufficiently vague text

"I think we have to draw a bright line and say ‘No torture – abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed,' and then try to make sure we implement that."

Given the text of the Geneva conventions and the laws they have passed, this is perfectly clear. It is true that Bush says similar things and mandates torture. However, he is not being vague, he is lying, just as Kornblut and Balz did.

I think they should be fired.

h/t everyone.
Taylor Marsh criticizes bloggers for believing the Post. This is odd as they had no source of the full quote until the Clinton campaign responded. Kevin Drum concedes the point very grudgingly. I am surprised that he is not more angry with Kornblut and Balz (he is anti anti msm though). Sargent, who pointed out the gross deletion of the substantive statement is very gentle with them too.

Mark Kleiman, who I generally respect, makes exactly the straw man argument I considered above.

Nice try, but no cigar. Saying "No torture" is the opposite of a "bright line"; after all, Bush keeps saying "we don't torture." To say that "it is not yet clear what this Administration is or isn't doing" sounds just like Glenn Reynolds.

The CIA just announced that it would no longer do waterboading. That clearly implies that the CIA was doing waterboarding. Waterboarding is torture. If HRC can't say "No waterboarding," her "No torture" isn't worth the spit behind it.

The same goes for the cold cell, for "long time standing," for "disappearing" people into secret prisons, and to "rendering" people to countries which we know practice torture. It's legitimate to say "I won't know just how bad things are until I'm President," but it's not legitimate to pretend that we don't already know that torture is going on in our name, and that if we decide not to hold war crimes trials we at least need a truth and reconciliation commission to expose the facts.

Part of HRC's problem is that the Bill Clinton regime didn't have entirely clean hands, specifically on the "rendition" issue. But it now seems clear that if we want the country to make a clean break with current policies on maltreatment of captives, we can't do so by putting HRC in the White House.

He notes that Bush says we don't torture and we do, therefore we should assume that Clinton is lying too which means her statements don't mean what they seem to mean and are vague. He also does not discuss "abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed" (whcih he quoted) and argues as if Clinton had just said "no torture". This is not just shockingly below his usually standard, it is totally dishonest. Kleiman knows that the Geneva conventions and the laws they have passed ban cruel inhumane and degrading treatment as well as torture. To claim that the phrases which he ignores adds nothing is to attempt to deceive readers who are lest familiar with the texts than he is.

To my knowledge, Kleiman hasn't objected that the Geneva conventions or the anti torture bill are vague. For example, he didn't, IIRC object to the torture bill on the ground that it didn't list banned techniques (which would be dumb as no list can be exhaustive). I think he is motivated by opposition to Clinton (he certainly is very strongly opposed to her nomination) and embarrassed that he believed Kornblut's and Balz's lie.

I think there is no possible justification for his condemning Clinton but not the Geneva conventions. I am very disappointed in him.

update: Matthew Yglesias, who I respect as much as I respect Kleiman, goes even further into a morass of dishonest Clinton derangement.

"As Mark Kleiman says, this doesn't really wash and seems to indicate that she accepts the view that, for example, waterboarding which we definitely do know is happening maybe doesn't count as torture."

I can't see how any person of normal intelligence, let alone Matthew Yglesias could write such a thing. This is beyond dishonesty, this is stupidly blatant dishonesty.

Clinton promised to obey "the laws we have passed" which were passed to make it clear that Bush administration policies were illegal. The only support for Yglesias's appalling insane dishonest accusation against Clinton is the weasel word "seems" seems to relieve him, in his own mind, of finding any basis for his accusations against Clinton in anything Clinton has said or done. There is, of course, no analysis of Clinton's statement before the assertion about what it seems she said, because there can not possibly be.

Yglesias' argument appears to be that George Bush has destroyed the English language, therefore it is impossible to speak clearly about torture, therefore Hillary Clinton has failed to do so, therefore she is a torturer.

I honestly have no idea what has come over Matthew Yglesias. I do not recognise the writer I thought I knew in this post. The target is a public figure, but the reasoning is well below that deployed by Malkin to attack Graeme Frost. Maybe someone hacked his account. I can think of no more plausible explanation for such vile lying idiocy on the blog of an normally honest genius.

I might add that my horror at the quality of reasoning displayed by Yglesias and Kleimain has nothing to do with disagreement with their view that Clinton should not be the nominee. I donated to Obama's campaign following Kleimans's advice. I am on their side and I am appalled by the recent posts by my allies. Really disgusted.

dumping on Sullivan relegated to the post update gutter as Sullivan has long made it perfectly clear that he is totally dishonest and so indifferent to reality and logic that he might as well be an idiot.

Andrew Sullivan is, of course, one of the original Clinton haters whose dishonesty and disinterest in mere facts, which might not support the accusation that Clinton was a rapist but who cares*, appalled me back in the 90s when it was hard to be appalled by insane Clinton hatred. He also doesn't like Bush, but there is no reason to take anything he says about anyone named Clinton seriously. Actually given his serial dishonesty, there is no reason to take anything he claims seriously.

*I mean this quite literally and am prepared to attempt to prove that Sullivan was willing to accuse Clinton of rape without any consideration of the evidence, stating it as if it were a known fact. This would require finding a brief passage in an old New Republic which discussed the conviction of a Southern Sheriff for forcing women prisoners to perform oral sex to be released from prison. Sullivan said that in this case, unlike the case of Clinton, such behavior was punished. He did not address any alleged evidence that Clinton had committed any similar act. I'd say he excused himself from participation in any debate involving the name Clinton at that point and people shouldn't forget it.

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